AEW Dynamite Review
Fans were expecting big things from this week’s episode of AEW Dynamite. With a new world champion, the possible reveal of The Exalted One, and the in-ring debut of Colt Cabana, there was a lot on tap tonight.
For the most part, the episode delivered what we’ve come to expect from a typical episode of Dynamite, although it could feel somewhat underwhelming given that it came off the heels of one of the best pay-per-view events in years. Naturally, if you had your expectations set high, you may be a little disappointed but in my opinion, this was another great episode with plenty of highlights and one big surprise.
The Moxley and Jericho Fued is Far From Over
Just when you thought the rivalry between Chris Jericho and Moxley couldn’t get more intense.
The night kicked off with a great video package recapping many of the highlights from Revolution before the new World Champ, Jon Moxley, made his way to the ring. After a standing ovation, Moxley picked up the mic and addressed the crowd, reiterating how much he appreciated the AEW fans and stating that winning the title is important to him because of the three letters scrawled on the belt that read AEW. If it wasn’t clear at Revolution that Moxley was most likely criticizing the WWE, it became clear tonight as he went on to say that thanks to the fans, AEW was able to bring back “professional” wrestling— once again highlighting the word professional as he did at the end of the recent PPV. As expected, Moxley issued a challenge to any AEW star who wanted a shot at the title and as expected, Chris Jericho along with his entourage came out on the ramp to respond to Moxley’s speech.
This was a great way to open the show for several reasons. For starters, since Moxley is the new champ, he was the superstar fans wanted to see most. Secondly, since it was previously announced that Moxley and Darby Allin would face Jericho and Sammy Guevara in the main event, AEW needed to further tease the match in order to get people to stick around until the end. Finally, it gave Jericho a chance to strut his stuff and shoot off his big mouth which is always entertaining to watch.
In classic Jericho fashion, Le Champion was able to dish out plenty of insults to the Colorada crowd while also raising the stakes and placing a bet that if Mox could walk out of the ring on his own two feet after the main event, Jericho would step away from the company for 60 full days. Having Jericho add this stipulation, made it seem like Jericho would for sure lose the bet and step away from AEW to do other things such as go on tour with his band, but as they usually do, AEW did exactly the opposite of what fans expected.
Other highlights here included Chris Jericho reminding Moxley he doesn’t need a damn belt to be Le Champion, followed by the fans chanting “Bullshit”— as well as Jericho reminding everyone that he is not a fan of the Moxley Era and in fact, he thinks it “sucks ass.” I also loved watching Jericho insult the crowd (calling Broomfield a dump) and accusing Moxley of being a cheater and a liar.
Moxley Get His Ass Kicked, Yet Again
The Main Event: Jon Moxley and Darby Allin vs. Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara
Since I’ve already brought up the Moxley/Jericho feud, let’s skip ahead to the main event which was both great and somewhat disappointing.
The highlight here was watching the underdog Darby Allin desperately try and survive a handicap match against Jericho and Sammy Guevara after the rest of the Inner Circle (Santana, Ortiz and Jake Hager) assaulted Moxley backstage. With Hager putting Moxley in a sleeper and choking him out, Allin was left all by himself and given another golden opportunity to steal the spotlight. And that he did!
AEW is clearly pushing Darby Allin hard, and some would even argue, they are pushing him harder than any other star in the roster. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen him cut some of the best promos, kick Sammy Guevara’s ass at Revolution, save Moxley from a beating and pretty much get the biggest rise from the AEW audience. Tonight, however, Allin went the extra mile after he “tagged himself” back into the match and somehow gained enough momentum and energy to out-wrestle Jericho and Guevara and perform a Coffin Drop over the top rope while taking out all five members of the Inner Circle. Unfortunately, he couldn’t pick up the win after missing a suicide dive and landing right into Chris Jericho’s finisher: The Judas Effect.
Despite not picking up the win, Darby Allin came very close, and this match helped further boost his popularity and make him a force to reckon with. Hopefully, we will get a rematch between him and Sammy Guevara in the near future.
Watching Moxley storm the ring, in the end, was also expected but at one point you have to start asking when he’s going to learn his lesson. I get he’s a lone wolf ad outsider who shows no fear— but the man does have a brain and he knows that every time he enters that ring, he’s going to get jumped by at least five guys at once. Tonight he received an especially brutal beating as the Inner Circle power bombed the recently crowned champ off the stage, through a table. I understand that wrestling is scripted but at one point, fans will have to start wondering how much punishment he can really take before he breaks down.
For months, we’ve watched the Inner Circle terrorize the entire AEW roster. We’ve seen them viciously attack everyone backstage; in the ring; out of the ring; off-air; on-air; in the dressing room; in the parking lot and so on…
And for weeks, we’ve watched them beat the shit out of Jon Moxley.
Not only is this getting old, but it brings in to question why guys like Moxley aren’t smart enough to anticipate these attacks and outsmart Le Champion and his entourage?
Many people including myself have compared Jon Moxley’s current run in AEW to Stone Cold Steve Austin’s run in WWE during the Attitude Era— but one of the big differences between the two is that Stone Cold would outsmart his opponents week after week and embarrass them every Monday night on Raw. The question remains, when is Moxley going to get the best of the Inner Circle and find clever ways to outsmart Jericho and his goons?
Moxley is great but the fans are eventually going to want to see him to more than get his ass kicked every week.
Jake the Snake Roberts Teases Another Dark Order?
Let’s talk about the highlight of the night and of course, I’m referring to the shocking appearance of wrestling legend Jake the Snake Roberts who made his debut on AEW Dynamite interrupting Cody to deliver him a strong message: He’s not here for the whole pie, just Cody’s share.
First, let’s address the elephant in the room. Cody’s tattoo is indeed distracting. Second, let’s speculate on who Jake’s client is? If I had to put my hard-earned money and place a bet, I would have to say, Brodie Lee, formerly known as Luke Harper who’s no longer working for the WWE and was recently signed to AEW.
What’s good about this segment other than seeing Jake the Snake back in the ring and giving us one of the best promos in recent memory, is watching Jake tease an upcoming rivalry between Cody and a mystery man. This means we likely won’t be seeing a rematch between Cody and MJF anytime soon which also frees AEW to set up another rivalry between MJF and someone other than the American Nightmare. Even better, AEW decided to introduce Jake the Snake as a heel, with him calling Arn Anderson a one-trick pony and embarrassing Cody by turning his back on him after saying, “A wise man once said, never turn your back on a man you respect or a man you’re afraid of.”
Overall I love this segment and I’m glad that when AEW introduces a wrestling legend Jake the Snake, they don’t throw them in the ring knowing they are way past their prime and instead find clever ways to incorporate them into the storylines.
I also love how after eliminating The Nightmare Collective a few weeks ago, AEW seems to have decided to add another dark stable, this time called “The Dark Side”.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that Jake the Snake Roberts was on a recent episode of Talk is Jericho. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, I highly recommend it. It’s surely one of the better episodes of Jericho’s podcast to date.
Colt Cabana and the Exalted One
Colt Cabana, Christopher Daniels, Scorpio Sky, and Frankie Kazarian vs. “The Dark Order” Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, Alex Reynolds
This episode also gave us the in-ring debut of Colt Cabana teaming up with SCU against The Dark Order. As much as I wanted to see the reveal of the so-called “Exalted One,” it’s probably better that AEW ride it out one more week if only because now fans will wonder if Jake the Snake is somehow involved.
I’m not the biggest fan of Colt Cobana but I must admit I do like his Chicago Skyline and Superman pin. There are still plenty of fans who aren’t familiar with Cabana and considering the number of talented wrestlers in the roster, AEW will have to work hard if they want him to succeed. Standing alongside the rest of the roster, Cobana doesn’t really stand out in my opinion, and while it’s always great to see new talent, I would have preferred AEW signed Jeff Cobb or Matt Hardy instead. Let’s hope he proves me wrong and makes a big splash in AEW but for now, the jury is still out.
Why is PAC Forming a Partnership With the Lucha Bros?
PAC vs. Chuck Taylor
Up next, Chuck Taylor of Best Friends was out to face The Bastard Pac in what was a decent match spoiled by the announcement that Pac is teaming up with the Lucha brothers and that they are now known as the Death Triangle (Triangle de la Muerte).
Obviously AEW is setting up a feud between Pac and the Lucha Brothers vs. Best Friends and Orange Cassidy— and considering the match between Pac and Cassidy at Revolution was a crowd favourite, these six men should be more than capable of putting on a good show and entertaining the crowd. My issue is having Pac sort of reinvent himself yet again. Pac is one of the most talented, strongest, and most charismatic stars in AEW. He’s also one of the best at selling his performance both in and out of the ring. Seriously, this guy is so good at expressing his emotions through physical performance and facial expressions, he should just quit wrestling and become a Hollywood star. Even more impressive is that Pac is the sort of wrestler who could easily pull off a great performance as either a heel or a babyface. He’s incredible and so while I’d love to see these six men battle it out in a match, I’d prefer it to be just that: one match.
Hopefully, this “Death Triangle” gimmick won’t last long so that Pac can hopefully one day have a title shot because with Jericho on his way out, PAC would be a great candidate to challenge Jon Moxley.
Also, I love how PAC keeps winning with a submission hold. I’d love to see him and Jake Hager in a submission match.
MJF Continues to be the Best Heel in Wrestling
Last week I wrote about why I think MJF is AEW’s most important star (apologies to Jon Moxley) and why he remains the best heel in any wrestling promotion, bar none. This week, MJF may not have had a match but he left his mark with yet another awesome promo in which he reminded the world that he is still undefeated and promises that one day, he would become world champion.
During the promo, MJF took jabs at several AEW stars including Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, Hangman Page, and Jurassic Express before revealing his “I pinned Cody” t-shirt while calling it, “embarrassing, obnoxious, regrettable, and very distracting, kind of like a neck tattoo.”
MJF reminds me of The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, who was one of the best heels in the WWE in the ‘80s. And just like Ted Dibiase, his performance is so good, you can’t help but love to hate him.
Big Swole vs. Leva Bates
Short and Sweet
I don’t have much to say here other than I’m glad they kept this match short for two reasons: First, Big Swole needs a push and having her defeat her opponent in such a short time makes her feel like more of a threat to the other women in the AEW roster such as Nyla Rose. Second, AEW had way too many matches and promos that they needed to cram into the episode so why waste precious time on a match that honestly, nobody cares about. In fact, the crowd was so underwhelmed they began chanting Aubrey Edwards name throughout the match. The only downside of having a short match meant less Britt Baker on commentary.
Hangman Flips the Bird
Jake Hager vs. QT Marshall
Jake Hager looked like much more of a dominant force this week which is how he should look given his size, strength and MMA experience. While I’m not a fan of his silent-type persona, I’d like to see him used more often and against more popular stars such as Pac.
The match itself was fine but the biggest highlight came after Hager picked up the win and a brawl broke out between the Inner Circle, Dusty Rhodes, Cody, and Matt Jackson which led to Adam Pag walking out (beer in hand) and tearing the place apart.
It was great to see Hangman Page flip the bird on Matt Jackson but not so great to see Hangman accept drinks from total strangers. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to use a cup that someone else already took a drink out of.
The glory of Monday Night Wars may be long and gone but Wednesday Night Wars is just getting started. It’s an amazing time to be a wrestling fan as AEW looks to bring back many of the fans who stopped watching wrestling over the past 18 years. Make no mistake about it, AEW is changing the landscape of the wrestling world and Wednesday Night Dynamite is an electrifyingly kinetic and insanely frenetic spectacle stacked with a level of athleticism at which the WWE stars of yesteryear would marvel. It sure did leave me feeling black-and-blue and breathless.
Also, I really love the video package AEW cut for the Tag Team Championship match from Revolution. It’s really smart of them to include reviews from journalists in the montage. Hopefully, one day, they’ll take notice of my writing and quote one of my reviews.